Monday, 16 May 2016

New Release and Review: Good Girl by Lauren Layne

Good Girl
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing May 17, 2016

In this steamy novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines, country music’s favorite good girl hides away from the world—and finds herself bunking with a guy who makes her want to be a little bad.
Jenny Dawson moved to Nashville to write music, not get famous. But when her latest record goes double platinum, Jenny’s suddenly one of the town’s biggest stars—and the center of a tabloid scandal connecting her with a pop star she’s barely even met. With paparazzi tracking her every move, Jenny flees to a remote mansion in Louisiana to write her next album. The only hiccup is the unexpected presence of a brooding young caretaker named Noah, whose foul mouth and snap judgments lead to constant bickering—and serious heat.

Noah really should tell Jenny that he’s Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the owner of the estate where the feisty country singer has made her spoiled self at home. But the charade gives Noah a much-needed break from his own troubles, and before long, their verbal sparring is indistinguishable from foreplay. But as sizzling nights give way to quiet pillow talk, Noah begins to realize that Jenny’s almost as complicated as he is. To fit into each other’s lives, they’ll need the courage to face their problems together—before the outside world catches up to them.

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Jenny Dawson is a new Hollywood star thanks to a five-minute cameo appearance in a new film. Yet, her rise to stardom is through her music! With the world at her feet, she quickly experiences the ugly side of fame when she's accused of having an affair with a famous married actor. To escape the negative publicity, she seeks refuge in a place that holds happy memories for rural Louisiana.

Noah Maxwell's life changed forever when he met his father for the first time aged fourteen. He's suddenly plunged into a world where he has everything he wants. However, as he's gotten older, he's realised that something is missing from his life. Something that money can't buy. When he's asked to rent out an old house he's inherited, he's reminded of his desire to stay away from high maintenance women like his new tenant, only to find out she isn't the woman he thought she was!

Their first impressions of each other may have been a little negative.

Noah: "I just turned my entire life upside down trying to get away from a woman exactly like this one, so this is definitely a 'look, don't touch' situation." 
"But I'm looking. I'm definitely looking."

Jenny: "...And then he had to go and open his mouth. It would figure that the first guy I'm attracted to in a good long time turns out to be a total jerk..."

The undoubtable seeds of attraction are firmly sown as Jenny and Noah learn to live around each other in the old mansion. Both sharing a similar humble background whilst trying to escape lives that they don't fit in with. It isn't long before neither can deny the overwhelming lust hanging between them. Noah unconsciously aids Jenny to push sexual boundaries in a way that he himself couldn't have believed ties! Yes, Jenny is a good girl in a not quite innocent way but she's also curious and eager to learn!

I've always enjoyed the first person dual point of view and I love it when a favourite author shakes things up a bit. Good Girl certainly fills that criterion. The old antebellum house is a surprising backdrop for Jenny and Noah's story, yet it feels like a breath of fresh air. Its presence is full of future promises just like its a reminder of the past.

The writing is what I've come to expect from this author and doesn't disappoint. There's the usual funny, witty banter between the protagonists and the secondary characters, which have always been entertaining and relevant in all the previous books I've read by her. The heat factor has been ramped up a notch in this novel but isn't gratuitous. It's very much an integral part of Jenny and Noah's story, just as both are craving a more honest world that's more familiar to them, away from the obvious trappings of wealth and fame.

Lastly, a special mention to Dolly and Ranger. I was initially sceptical to your presence, but I admit your inclusion is unexpectedly light-hearted and fun.

***arc generously received courtesy of Loveswept Publishing via NetGalley***

Sweetie . . . ,” Amber says in a gentle voice that has me tensing.
I love Amber to death, but she’s not usually one for sweet-talking. She’s more the type of friend who will actually tell you that a certain pair of jeans absolutely makes your butt look big.
I go very still, wondering if I’m going to need more chocolate chips for this. “What? Tell me.”
Have you ever hooked up with Shawn Bates?”
I make a face. “Yuck, no.”
But you’ve hung out?”
No. I’ve met him, like, twice. Maybe three times.”
When was the last time you saw him?”
My heart is pounding now, because there’s an urgency in Amber’s voice that I’m not used to hearing. “I don’t know. The Grammys, I guess. We had our picture taken together, I think.”
Shawn Bates is one of those ridiculously good-looking guys who’s also been blessed with a decent voice. He won best pop vocal album three years in a row.
He was up against me for album of the year. I can’t imagine he was thrilled about losing, but he was friendly enough. A little skeevy, but maybe that’s because I only know his reputation. And I, of all people, know not to believe everything you hear.
Do you have your laptop handy?” Amber asks in that scary quiet voice.
Oh, crap. Instinctively I know this is bad. Really bad.
I stand, heading into the kitchen, where I left my iPad, Dolly trotting along at my ankles, happy and oblivious with her little chipmunk in her mouth.
Which site?” I say as I turn on the tablet.
Any of them.“
As it turns out, I don’t even need to go to a celebrity gossip site. I was reading Google News this morning with my coffee, and it’s still up on my browser window.
Only this time . . .
This time I am the news.
I stare blindly, clicking on the top article, my eyes reading the headline about a dozen times before my brain finally registers it: “Does America’s Favorite Good Girl Have a Secret Seductress Side?”
Below the headline is a picture of me and Shawn at the Grammys, both of us with awards in hand. My head is tilted back in a laugh, and even though I know my happiness comes from winning the award rather than my proximity to Shawn Bates, I have to admit that I look semi-smitten with the guy.
His eyes are locked on my cleavage, his smile far more intimate than it has a right to be considering that our conversation lasted only a split second longer than the picture itself.
At the time, I’d thought the shimmering pink dress the perfect combination of sweet and sexy, but looking at it now, with this headline, it seems garish. My smile’s too wide, my posture too open, my smoky eye makeup too much . . .
Jenny. Talk to me,” Amber says.
It’ll pass, right?” I say, still unable to look away from the photo to actually read the article.
Amber doesn’t reply, and Dolly lets out a sad little whimpering noise before sitting on top of my foot as though trying to shield me from what’s to come.
It’s just another stupid rumor,” I say. “The tabloids are getting exceedingly bold. I can sue, right? And Shawn can sue, and we’ll—”
Shawn confirmed it,” Amber says.
My ears buzz. “What?”
This morning. Coming out of the gym, the vultures were all over him. Instead of keeping his mouth shut, Shawn said, and I quote, ‘Look, I’m not proud of my actions, but I can’t be the first guy to get pulled into Jenny Dawson’s vortex, and I’m sure I won’t be the last. At this point, all I can do is look forward and try to make amends.’”
What is he talking about?” I squeak, my eyes closing as I pull hard on my ponytail in frustration. “Make amends for what? My vortex? Is that a thing?”
It gets worse,” Amber says, her voice miserable.
I don’t know how that’s even possible.”
He’s not the only one who’s confirmed the story.”
I blink. “Someone else is also delusional?”
Yeah. His wife.”
Oh my God,” I whisper.
I don’t know much about Shawn Bates’s wife, but pretty much everyone knows their story. Childhood sweethearts who started dating in middle school, they got married right out of high school, shortly before Shawn got famous.
There are always rumors that he’s cheating, but like I’ve said, I don’t put much faith in rumors.
One thing I know for sure is that if he is cheating, it’s not with me.
She posted a tearful selfie on every single social media platform along with a big old statement about how she and Shawn are going through a rough patch, but their love is stronger than any country-singing home wrecker.”
I’m not a home wrecker.”
I know that, J. But you have that song, and there’s that picture—”
The song was euphemistic!” I say, referring to my first hit single, a song I wrote about all the things that can come between a couple once the honeymoon period’s over: the TV, bills, iPhones, work. Those are the home wreckers.

Not me.

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.

Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).-
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  1. Lovely review! Thank you for hosting GOOD GIRL today!

    Crystal, Tasty Book Tours